let them lead


I was reminded of something very dear to me last weekend. It’s so important to let our children have an opportunity to lead US. So much time is spent (wasted) trying to get kids to do what we want them to do, dress how we want them to dress, play how we want them to play, act how we want them to act, smile | stand | sit how we want them to for our photos, for others, for our selves. I see so many people trying to control everything around them–including their children, spouses, family–and it is driving everyone crazy, including themselves.

Children are people too.

We visited the Detroit Zoo last weekend and I gave Wren the map and let her lead us for the day. Of course I had to say “no” to most of the ice cream stands and gift shops we walked past, but that’s about where I drew the line. Otherwise, we saw the animals that she wanted to see, we took the paths she wanted to take and we saw the penguins twice. Why not?

It’s so vital that we let our children have these kind of opportunities. How else do they learn to lead and feel confident in their choices? So what if we didn’t see the monkeys.


soaking up summer

Even though the calendar says that summer will still be here for another month, I don’t trust it to stick around much longer. I’ve learned my lesson in the past. Sometimes we are blessed with a beautiful September, filled with water warm enough to welcome us until the leaves begin to cover the lawn. Other years, Labor Day hits, local stores begin to shorten their hours and boom, Lake Michigan turns frigid and summer is OVER. Sigh. Summer’s not even my favorite season, but it sure is fun to play at the water’s edge with the little birdie. And a husband who will swim no matter what the water brings. And the big belly. Swimming is one of the only times I feel a bit weightless; what a relief!

So we’re soaking it up while we can and enjoying the sand in our sheets for a little while longer.

creative movement

I registered the little birdie for a “Creative Movement” class this fall. Not that she seems to need much help in this area especially when she’s inspired by Lake Michigan’s crashing waves, but I think she’ll have a BLAST. She’s such a natural little dancer that I sometimes don’t want to dance in front of her in fear that she’ll be influenced by my movements… or lack of.

The class requires that she wear pink tights, a pink leotard, ballet shoes and pull her hair back. She is ridiculously excited about this part of the class. Who IS this girl again? Did she really come from me? Boggled.

How was your weekend, lovelies?

blueberry bonanza

Happy August, lovelies! We started the morning out with an early blueberry bonanza to beat the heat. Apparently, I just can’t eat enough fresh blueberries because we picked some last week too, but my supply was already getting a bit low. They’re just soooo good right now. I’ve been eating them by the happy handful every day. And no, I haven’t turned into a Smurf yet. Yet!

Truth be told, the little birdie isn’t a great blueberry picker at this age – maybe next summer. She loses interest in picking after about, oh, 60 seconds. But she loves to run up and down the rows, check in with her friends (err, boss them around), and occasionally, pop a big, plum-sized one in her mouth. Pure northern Michigan summer!

She also had a great time with her good friend, Cora. And they didn’t even fight over anything today! Girls are so funny: one minute they’re pulling each other’s hair out over a toy and the next, they’re hugging and laughing. Or holding hands…

How are you celebrating the arrival of August and beating the heat in the midst of these dog days? Any great blueberry recipes I just HAVE to try? Send ’em my way. Until then, we just eat them straight out of the bowl! mmmmm.

Cyberspace friends, thank you so much for your thoughtful, thought-provoking, understanding and encouraging thoughts regarding my anxiety over the arrival of little birdie #2. Your support and advice means a lot. Thank YOU.

cha cha cha changes

You know the story, lovelies. When you’re completely immersed in life with a little person every day, most changes just creep up on you without too much notice. I often feel like a helpless frog in that proverbial pot of boiling water… One day, whamm-o! You wake up and they’re two going on fourteen. Where-oh-where did my little baby go?

Last year the little birdie wasn’t even walking yet at the Cherry Festival and this year? We walked up to her first ride and I told her that I could go with her. “No, Mama, I do it SELF!” I cried: happy | sad | proud | full of awe.

Just like that (frog talking here), the little birdie flew away. For a little while anyway. It’s like a dance we play at this age – pull away, come running back, pull away. Testing what independence feels like. Scary and fun, just like escaping into the unknown of a giant blow-up rainforest.


summer’s coolest cotton: Roen Design

A friend of mine launched a great kid’s clothing line this past year: Roen Design. I’m especially loving the Leelanau County map pieces, as seen above. Some are handmade like the dress and some are upcycled items like the darling collared shirt. You can find Forest’s unique designs at some of the Leelanau County farmer’s markets this summer or contact her with a custom order through her Etsy shop. Congratulations, Forest!

rhubarb gelato

Wow, what a weekend: sunny & 70s, lots of outdoor fun and projects, time with our family, no commitments. Yessssss. One of the highlights of our kick-off to summer weekend was taking a trip to our farmer’s market and loading up on rhubarb. I think rhubarb is one of those love/hate foods. Me? Love. In many forms I like to consume it, but I’m always looking to try something new with it.

Strange side story: we had a rhubarb plant growing here at 605 and harvested some of it last year, but this year, it’s completely gone. And in its place? About 6-8 fern plants. It’s almost like someone came and dug up the rhubarb and replaced it with a mini forest of ferns. I love the ferns so I’m not really complaining, but where-oh-where did our rhubarb go? The ferns marched on over from our neighbor’s ferny corner, so no real mystery there. Did you take my rhubarb, lovelies?

OK, back to our regularly scheduled program…

So my Mom bequeathed us with her ice cream maker last weekend (thank you!) and I loaded up on four pounds of local rhubarb. Things were beginning to come together… I decided to embark on this simple recipe for rhubarb gelato. It sounded perfect – easy and refreshing. Do you like Sweet Tarts? Yeah, me too. You’ll probably really enjoy this one then.

We all did. The little birdie kept saying, “sour,” but she continued to eat most of her cone. It has such an intense flavor that it’s very satisfying. Enjoy!

How do you like to eat rhubarb? Do you have a good strawberry/rhubarb pie recipe and if so, will you share it with me?

Happy Monday!


It doesn’t just seem like the snow piles just disappeared. They really did. And what happened to spring, anyway? Yesterday’s summery 83 and sunny crashed that party. So my peas are not ready for 83 on a regular basis. They seem to prefer a milder spring. But they’re making a lovely appearance, aren’t they? Finally!

In other gardening news, the little birdie and I planted several more rows of different seeds yesterday. Melons, squash, beets, carrots, dill. She’s pretty focused for about 3/4 of a row of the bigger seeds, like tigger melon or delicata squash seeds. The carrot seeds–so tiny, even for tiny, nimble hands–not so easy or interesting for an (almost!) two tot. She just wanted to toss them up in the air and see them rain down. Can’t really blame her, but it will be an *interesting* carrot crop this year.

And I’m thinking that we will have a nice salad for a Memorial Day picnic… crossing fingers here.

What’s growing in your garden, lovelies? Have you had any fresh asparagus yet? Yummy. XO ash

P.S. Yes, it does seem a bit trite to blog about lettuce growing in our backyard when there’s so much devastation and heartache in Joplin. I’m feeling very grateful to have a home that is safe and sound, a healthy family, and another beautiful day to be alive.